Boxing dealmakers in New York have to be more than a bit miffed with the news coming out that UFC has found an insurance policy to cover their fighters to state mandated level on the Nov 12 Madison Square Garden show, but no policy has been located for them to do business in NY.
Why has mixed martial arts been granted the open runway to liftoff in NY, while the runway has been cleared of boxing, with no pro shows running in October and the calendar in November and now December bare of boxing, they are probably asking themselves? NY fight promoters were told that they couldn't promote a show in the near future, it is my understanding, because no policy was okayed by state officials which would satisfy the stiffer regulations enacted to cover traumatic and catastrophic injuries to fighters in professional combat sports. So Joe DeGuardia and Lou Dibella cancelled and/or moved shows, depriving boxers and persons and venues involved in fight promotions opportunities to earn a living…only to see what certainly looks at best like a double standard being applied. Why, Dibella and others are likely asking, are different rules being applied to UFC and to pugilism? Why was UFC allowed to announce and promote a card at MSG, with Governor Cuomo even appearing at a splashy media event to herald the entry into the media capital of the world after being banned in 1997, before officially securing an insurance setup?
This is bad optics, at the least, and raises the likelihood that the boxing community will up the ante in getting to the bottom of this freeze out period, during which MMA has the entire stage and spotlight to themselves as they make their first foray into NYS.
An ESPN article states AIG agreed to write a policy for the NY UFC event. I've seen references to them insuring other UFC events; maybe a pre existing relationship helped propel an agreement to a mutually acceptable policy. An insurer isn't compelled to offer the same policy to a different but similar sport. But what is severely puzzling is, why was UFC given the go ahead to unfurl an event before a policy was okayed by state overseers, and boxing promoters were not? This looks on surface like favoritism, and I hear rumblings that entrenched pugilism purveyors are thisclose to entering a new phase of hardball to get to the bottom of the matter. Livelihoods are being affected, careers are being impacted, and patience is wearing beyond thin.